Cannabis legalization isn’t enough, rewrite all laws based on science

Cannabis legalization isn’t enough, rewrite all laws based on science

Calls for Overhaul of US Drug Laws Highlighted in Reader Responses.

LZ Granderson correctly implies that the federal Controlled Substances Act, signed into law by President Richard Nixon in 1970, is bigoted and unscientific. It is also grossly incomplete since that act gave political sacred cows a free pass. (“Marijuana isn’t really fueling the cartels. It’s U.S. laws that drive the violence,” Opinion, Feb. 3)

For example, in 2010 the British medical journal Lancet reported a scientific comparison of drugs’ individual harms as well as their social harms, and alcohol had the worst score overall. In the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that tobacco use kills almost half a million Americans each year.

Neither of those drugs is mentioned anywhere in the Controlled Substances Act. Those omissions breed cynicism.

While we should appreciate Senate Democrats’ efforts to change the federal classification of cannabis as a drug as dangerous and addictive as heroin, they are tinkering on a thoroughly rotten foundation.

The Controlled Substances Act should be scrapped, and U.S. laws should be based on a comprehensive, science-based evaluation of the drugs’ harms both to users and society.

To the editor: Actually, yes — marijuana is fueling violence. Has Granderson considered the environmental violence caused by illegal marijuana grows in national parks and forests?

Armed park rangers, at great danger to themselves, often discover illegal marijuana growing operations. Such a site was recently found and removed from Jail Canyon in Death Valley.

And what about the illegal use of water and the gallons of pesticides and insecticides left to flow into the watersheds of these parks?

These problems existed before marijuana was legalized in California, but now with so many sellers and buyers, the problems have multiplied. The federal legalization of marijuana will only exacerbate them.

To the editor: Words matter. In an otherwise excellent piece, Granderson referenced “cannabis” five times, “pot” four and “weed” once. Why would someone who advocates its legalization (or at least decriminalization) want to confuse his readers?

Use of the pejoratives “pot” and “weed” are akin to talking about alcohol-containing beverages as “booze” and “hooch” — not something one would read in almost any news publication today.

It is high time indeed for the news establishment (and certainly The Times) to normalize the use of the scientifically correct term cannabis when writing about a substance that has been vilified in Western society for at least the past 100 years.

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Region: United States

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